A cool, calm and collected pursuit of a competitive 269-run target afforded England an eight-wicket win in Wednesday's second ODI at McLean Park in Napier.
New Zealand, eager to replicate their success over South Africa earlier this year, will have to wait for Saturday's decider in Auckland to attempt a rare series win over opposition considerably superior in the ICC rankings.
The makings of a two-nil sweep on the back of Ross Taylor's century and Brendon McCullum's blitz beckoned, only for half-centuries from Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root to usurp the Black Caps.
Cook's decision to bowl first on a pitch historically expected raised eyebrows, but experimentation ahead of this year's Champions Trophy continued the precedent professed at the start of the tour.
England want to prove themselves as formidable chasers, and Wednesday's affair certainly went a long way in examining their skills under relative pressure. In the process, they've unearthed the genuine article in Joe Root, whose unbeaten 79 ensured victory with all of 14 deliveries to spare.
Root, amid short-format cricket's evolving rules, epitomised the need for cheeky shot selection and deft stroke play - rather than brash, big hitting - in Napier. Swift on the pull and confident on the premeditated paddle, his approach knew few limits.
The talented right-hander, however, endured some fortune - dropped by wicketkeeper McCullum on 25 and again by midwicket fielder Taylor on 58.
A New Zealand attack overly reliant on Nathan McCullum and hampered by the off-colour services of an undercooked Tim Southee, too, had little answer to Jonathan Trott's complementary 65. With Kevin Pietersen rested for this tour, Trott again proved the perfect foil at three in the order - fortifying the fluid 78 Cook garnered at the top of the knock.
Earlier, the Kiwis were restricted to 269 all out - but would have demanded at least 30 more as the encounter seesawed between Brendon McCullum's quickfire cameo, Taylor's telling ton and James Anderson's five-for.
Taylor and Kane Williamson assumed the backbone of the New Zealand order thanks to a 72-run stand, after which the former captain and Grant Elliott added a further 52. England's attack, bar Anderson, endured a wayward day - and were duly punished by the centurion.
The right-handed Taylor, with McCullum's nine fours and four sixes en route to 74 off just 36 balls along for the ride, engineered the seventh century of his ODI career before becoming Anderson's fourth victim. Trent Boult was the fast bowler's fifth scalp, bringing the prolific right-armer final figures of five for 34.